Appalachian is excited to host the Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program for the fourth year. Appalachian is one of four U.S. universities selected through a competitive process to implement the program. The TEA Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) based in Washington, D.C.
20 highly select teachers come to Boone for a six-week seminar that includes intensive coursework to develop their expertise in teaching English as Foreign Language, teaching science, community service, and internships with high school English teachers in our region. The 2014 Fellows come from many different diverse countries: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Guatemala, India, Jordan, Mali, Nicaragua, Niger, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Zambia.
Past Fellows have come from: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Haiti, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nicaragua, Panama, Thailand, Turkmenistan, the Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Some program highlights:
Regional attractions - Grandfather Mountain, Linville Caverns/Falls, North Carolina Museum of Minerals, International Civil Rights Center and Museum and the Greensboro Science Center
Community Service - Volunteer day at F.A.R.M. (Feed All Regardless of Means) Cafe and Farm
Curriculur activities - Forum with Appalachian Pre-Service Teachers, Watauga High School PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) Meeting, Watauga County Board of Education Meeting
Internship/Team-Teaching - Caldwell Early College High School, East Burke High School, Hibriten High School, Watauga High School, West Wilkes High School
In addition to the above ways in which Fellows are exposed to U.S. social and cultural opportunities, one of the most influential activities is the homestay weekend with a local U.S. family. The weekend homestay experience is repeatedly referred to by Fellows and families alike as one of the high points of the entire program.
Homestay Weekend with U.S. Families
The TEA homestay weekend is Friday evening, Oct. 17 - Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. The homestay visit provides a special opportunity for TEA Fellows to meet and interact with a local family. This type of experience is often the favorite of participants! This time is also a unique chance for community members to get to know someone from another culture for cross-cultural exchange and friendship.
Excerpts from past homestay families:
"We had such a wonderful time with Gulmira. So many interesting talks and new experiences... we did normal family activities. She fit right in and was excited to see what we would do next. She attended a fall festival at my elementary school, the Carolina Balloon festival in Statesville, visiting with grandparents and a cookout. She made a dish for our cookout that was so yummy, my two year old loved it!"
"Having a TEA scholar with us was truly an experience we will never forget. I greatly enjoyed learning about Morocco and Haiti from Sidi and Gabart. We are all very different, but we are all the same as well."
"Our homestay guys cooked dinner for us... We had a great time with Buntho and Mohammad – visited the Woolly Worm Festival, watched pumpkins being carved for Halloween, ate foods unfamiliar to them... the visit was an education for all 4 of us. They were very, very appreciative of their homestay time! The time __ & I spent with them was well worth it and we now have 2 new international friends!"
"We enjoyed our visit with Rola immensely... We want our children to be exposed to people from all around the world, with different ways of life and different customs. Everyone benefits from these types of experiences. While visiting, Rola taught our daughter how to write all of our names in Arabic as well as alphabet. Rola made her 5 or 6 pages of "homework" to do and she completed it in one sitting. We also enjoyed taking Rola to her first circus where she bravely had her picture made with a large snake."
"We had a fantastic time with Helio! What a fine man! For the first weekend homestay we stayed in Deep Gap. Helio was gracious enough to help us rake leaves, we went horseback riding and he attended our Sunday morning faith community with us."
If you would like to participate as a TEA Homestay family, please complete this Homestay Application.
Please note - If you are a homestay family host: The following are the general logistics and expectations of those interested in participating as host families: Homestay time frame expectations: Friday evening Oct. 17 until anytime on Sunday, Oct. 19. The TEA Fellows will be staying at regional hotels at the time of their homestay in the following counties: Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Watauga, and Wilkes. Families will be expected to pick-up and drop-off their TEA Fellow from their respective hotel.
Additionally, host families are invited and expected to attend the following:
Monday, Sept. 22, 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Opening Welcome Reception in the Solarium of Plemmons Student Union on the Appalachian campus. Come meet your Fellow, hear about the program and get a chance to meet the other participants as well! Email invitations will be sent at a later date for R.S.V.P. purposes. Children are welcome.
Thursday, Oct. 30, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Closing Dinner and Ceremony, in the Plemmons Student Union on the Appalachian campus. Again, email inviitations will be sent for R.S.V.P. purposes. All members of the homestay families are invited.
Appalachian State University and the Office of International Education and Development welcomes your participation in the TEA Program as a great deal of this Programs' success is due to the wonderfully warm host families that have invited Fellows into their homes and hearts and built numerous cultural bridges!